Club Politics in Educational Institutions

Touseef Hasan and Tahmid Jahin

Every year, millions of buoyant teenagers get enrolled in their desired educational institutions with heads full of dreams. Buzzing with utmost optimism, they get affiliated with clubs at some point in this phase of life in search of something new and effective. But in most cases, their motives backfire and they’re left with negativity and despair, with the clubs of their respective institutions being at the genesis. 

Getting a position in the club, establishing an influence over a faction leads to chaotic decisions that jeopardize other people’s position in the club.  Often this leads to a toxic environment where everyone seems to be trying to drag down one another. The whole ambiance of the club gets diluted by negative energy while hostility and resentments toward one another grow like a tumor inside everyone. The environment cannot get any worse when the members try every possible wrong way to defame their peers. The decks get stacked against all rationale, the rules get rigged and there remains no moral conduct to follow while friendship loses all its value. Needless to say, these are all just the tip of the iceberg. 

Enter club politics – a very intimidating and burning issue for Gen Z, which almost never gets talked about in public. But this time, we chose to dig deep. Really, really deep.

Involvement in clubs

About 85% of our respondents professed they were affiliated with any club at any point in their academic life, validating the claim that most students at any institution are actively engaged in club activities.

Participation in club politics

To our surprise, about 11% admitted that they were involved in club politics during their club tenure, in full swing, While 25% opted for moderate participation. Although the majority of our answerers were nowhere near club politics as they asserted so themselves, the fact that almost 4 out of every 10 respondents were involved in club politics, is alarming, to say the least.

Does it help to gain a good position in clubs?

No one would partake in politics without any crystal clear motive, would they? About 70% of the respondents claimed that club politics does have a fair contribution to gaining a good position in their respective clubs.

“I don’t know how it was previously but at the moment you just cannot go up in a club without being political,” obliges Nashiba, a fourth-year undergrad student from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET).

Being the president of your club – does it make you an actual political leader?

47% of those who took part in this survey believe that being a highly ranked personnel in a club would help them become an actual political leader, while 3% stated that after becoming the president of their club, they would absolutely become a leader. If beliefs like these are established in the minds of the youth, why wouldn’t they go for the imaginary goldmine existing right in front of them?

“Involvement in politics”- an efficient substitute for hard work?

Is diplomacy a quick ladder to success? Is this a shortcut to a golden ticket for obtaining a high rank in the club? Or is it sheer hard work and perseverance that turns the table? 46% of our total respondents believe it is their hard work that makes the difference claiming, they would rather work hard and culminate their potential through obtaining a rigorous learning curve. This statistic bears glad tidings but what complements the rest of the finding is that almost 39% believe politics is just as important and necessary as working hard and showing dedication. The rest 15% do not aim to obtain a top position which undoubtedly proves confidence in their competencies. 

Does dirty politics results in hostile and belligerent environment? 

Almost most of our respondents concurred with this claim. The number shows that over 92% of the respondents believe dirty politics make the ambiance more hostile, makes members more belligerent rather than being competitive and respectful, and finally, makes it cumbersome to sustain a healthy culture. 

Victims of nepotism – how often?

Much to our dismay, over 85% of the total respondents claimed they were somewhat a victim of nepotism, that is, they witnessed others taking more advantage, getting more prioritized as for being diplomatic. If people with honesty and integrity are left with nothing while those engaged in dirty schemes and politics rise to the top, people will less likely to have faith over morality, and such unhinged pursuit of incidental positions in the club culture should prevail moreover versatility and dedication.

Ashraful Kareem, a fresher from Jahangirnagar University (JU) agrees and recalls his time at Notre Dame College (NDC), “Back in college, a friend of mine got elected president only because he used to go overboard while admiring and appreciating the seniors of the club, while I, working blood and sweat were ignored completely. Honestly, it felt horrible. I sincerely hope that’s not the case in university as well.”

But the aforementioned numbers don’t provide much assurance.

What’s behind all this?

Power. Position. These two are what came the most out of our answerers. And indeed, it is the urge to get higher up the rank ladder in respective clubs that drive their members to frequently indulge in this awful, yet apparently effective act. The lust for swift recognition and the desire for fame unjustly manipulates most to join this charade.

The numbers clearly don’t talk in favor of all the hopeful aspirants looking forward to encountering memorable experiences and learning new things whilst working for their respective clubs at institutional levels. But that being said, if their motives are just enough if they’re firmly determined to focus and build on the positivity, they’ll surely be able to shrug off all the clouds of negativity and ensure a really bright tenure at their clubs. Nevertheless, the current situations aren’t the best one at all and to build a better, learning ambiance in the clubs, there’s undoubtedly work to be done.

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